In the Beginning

In order to understand the nature and flowing references throughout my blog, I recommend reading my initial post The End of the Beginning first.



It has been almost exactly one year since the onset of my Breakthrough Crisis. Celebrating or at least recognizing milestones is an important rite of passage in any culture. I often find that looking back on where I was helps me to appreciate where I am. It's why I journal so much. How else am I supposed to gauge progress?

Unstuck includes a number of journaling exercises at the end of each chapter. The book views depression as a call to change. An initial exercise is to outline the specifics of your call and how you can respond to it. These are my answers from one year ago.

1. What's going on right now?

I am extremely dissatisfied with the level of busy-ness in my life due to my demanding, hectic, and travel filled job. I've figured out that I am a person who needs a great deal of stillness, downtime, and routine in order to thrive. On top of this I am trying to deal with the fallout of realizations and changes in my relationship with my mother. Feelings of guilt, resentment, anger, and mostly depression are near consuming me.

Underneath both of these issues is a deep sense of loneliness because I have few friends and little time to build a personal life due to my job. I've spent all of my life's energy, time, and money in fixing my mother instead of investing in myself and my future.

2. Where do I want to be headed and what changes are necessary?

I want friends I can call to have dinner, watch movies, and see the city with. I want to sleep in my own bed most nights. I don't want to feel tired, rushed, behind schedule, and out of control all of the time. I want to enjoy my free time instead of feeling like I'm merely recovering in between times of intense work. 

I want to feel energized and hopeful about life again. I want to regain my sense of wonder in nature, God, people, and animals. I want free time and space to do good for others which makes me feel expansive. I want to express the full range of human emotion, to inspire and be inspired. I want to express Who I Really Am and feel I am making a difference in the world by doing so.

3. What are my first steps for getting where I am going?

- Make an appointment with my doctor to discuss depression and rule out any possible physical causes such as thyroid, hormones, or adrenal abnormalities.
- Find a therapist and stick with it, at least until my major symptoms subside. 
- Talk to friends. Stay connected.
- Pursue closeness with key family members; they are more important than friends.
- Make some modifications in my diet to support health and well-being: more beans, oatmeal, eggs, salmon and water; less coffee, cookies, chips, and crackers.
- Pursue a job change. 
- Set up my mother's care in a way that minimizes my involvement. 
- Integrate things into my life that I know support Who I Really Am: yoga, volunteering, running, hiking, nature, time with my dog, family, reading, traveling for pleasure.

Looking back at this is quite helpful, and I can almost not believe the progress I have made. I was able to make all of the changes I wanted in less than 12 months.

I found not one but two wonderful therapists; the work I've done with Dee and Em has been life altering. I went on two international trips for pleasure. I have a new job that I enjoy which requires little travel. I moved back to a city where I had an immediate circle of supportive friends. I set my mother up in a new living arrangement that no longer requires monthly oversight from me. I bought a lake house surrounded by nature and a peacefulness that allows plenty of time for stillness and introspection. This has enticed my family to come visit which has allowed us to grow closer than we've been in a long time.

When I started this post I thought I was going to lament the passage of time. A year sounds so long. And yet, seeing my own progress laid out in this way I now feel differently than when I began. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to integrate such massive change in a relatively short amount of time! But I believe it was necessary. I could not focus on my healing in the midst of near-constant travel to perform in an overly demanding job, nor when I was consumed with the care and well-being of my mother. I had to identify the barriers and then remove them one by one in order to create a safe place for me to process, reconnect, and integrate.

Most of all, I am amazed that my inner wisdom knew exactly what I needed and precisely how to guide me here. The universe responded to my call. I am forever grateful.

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